I am often asked by patients when they should stop their hormone medications.
Previously, it had been recommended on the traditional side to try to taper or stop hormone medication after being on them for 5 years. However, many women would notice that either while trying to taper their medications or after stopping their medications that they just did not feel well at all. Their bodies were telling them that they needed what they had been using.
In 2017 there were some important developments with regards to hormones and their benefits over time.
The following study followed women over the course of 12 years and concluded that women on hormone replacement therapy had lower all-cause mortality. What does this mean? It means that women taking hormones had a lower risk of dying than women not on hormones and the ones that were on hormones and not dying from heart disease were not at higher risk of dying from something else, for example cancer. This is a good news story. As one of my cardiology colleagues commented: “How amazing it is that taking hormones makes women live longer!”
With regards to how long to take hormones, there is an authoritative group in the USA called the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). This group looks at all the studies with regards to hormones and issues guidelines for physicians. In July 2017, NAMS released the following change to their guidelines:
- HRT is good for the heart
- HRT is good for LIFE
- Don’t stop HRT based on age
- Don’t stop HRT based on duration of use
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